The 10 Best Martial Arts Chest Protectors
This wiki has been updated 30 times since it was first published in October of 2016. If you are preparing to get in the ring or the octagon, make sure you are well protected during your training and sparring sessions. These martial arts chest protectors come in sizes for both kids and adults, and should help prevent any nasty injuries before a competition. We've included models suitable for a range of disciplines, including boxing, MMA, Tae Kwon Do and Muay Thai. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
July 09, 2020:
During this round of updates, while the majority of our previous selections managed to maintain their positions, we did decide to do away with the Title Gel, Ringside Gel and Contender Fight Sports Heavy Hitter, all due to availability issues. Noting that these disqualifications were all heavy options intended for trainers – as opposed to light models like the Wesing Wushu and Pine Tree Sang Moo Sa, which are better suited to sparring martial artists – we endeavored to replace them with similar selections, and wound up settling on two options from Title Boxing: the Title Boxing Command 2.0 and Title Boxing Influence — which both offer excellent kidney and rib protection, and the Combat Sports Thai Style — which may not be as fancy as our contoured Title Boxing picks, but still offers ample padding. Our last new inclusion was the Farabi Ladies — an option designed specifically to protect women’s breast region during training.
A few things to think about for this category:
Sparring vs. Training: We’ve already touched on this during the introduction to this editor’s note, but it’s an important distinction to make, so we’ll go over it again quickly just to be clear. This category is essentially comprised of two kinds of offerings:
The first kind is intended for use by martial artists, typically, though not exclusively, during sparring. Models like the Wesing Wushu and ProForce Lightning are light enough that they don’t drastically restrict movement, but still tough enough to offer protection across the torso region, sometimes – as in the case of the Macho Competition Hogu and Pine Tree Sang Moo Sa – extending across the shoulders. The Macho Competition Hogu, like the Adidas WTF Taekwondo, is an example of a reversible chest protector, which will sometimes be required for Tae Kwon Do tournaments, as well as other martial arts.
The second kind of chest protector is intended for trainers. While heavy options like the Combat Sports Thai Style and Title Boxing Influence could be worn during sparring, where they really shine is when worn by trainers who essentially sacrifice themselves as a moving target, for the greater good of their fighters. Enthusiastic coaches who like to keep their students guessing will often wear a chest protector during pad work – using the gear in combination with thai pads, strike shields and focus pads – which usually winds up being much more engaging and beneficial than training sessions spent strictly on heavy bags, speed bags and double end bags.
Protection: Indicators like unit weight and the type of material used as padding can give us an idea of how solid these protectors are, but it would be nearly impossible to credibly compare the toughness of these guards without doing extensive lab-controlled testing. What is readily apparent to us, however, is the extent of the coverage offered by each guard.
The Title Boxing Influence and Title Boxing Command 2.0 both offer exemplary protection to the diaphragm and mid riff region, but there's a chink in those suits of armor around the collar bone area, which is left exposed and vulnerable to overhand punches and axe kicks — a weakness that isn’t shared by the Combat Sports Thai Style, which features padding right up to the user’s neck line.
As previously mentioned, the Macho Competition Hogu and Pine Tree Sang Moo Sa provide better protection to the shoulder region than many similar models. And, the Farabi Ladies stands out in this category, as it’s the only model we ranked that exclusively protects the chest region, without offering any padding to the rest of the torso. However, we still thought it was worth listing, since it does a good job of addressing a specific issue that affects many female martial artists.
Size: While the Farabi Ladies offers only two sizes, other models like the Wesing Wushu and Pine Tree Sang Moo Sa come in five. Many savvy online retailers are thoughtful enough to include sizing charts along with listings for their equipment; we suggest you take advantage of these resources whenever possible, as there appears to be no universally accepted standard for sizing in this category. Be wary of options – like the ProForce Lightning – that regularly run small, but also realize that the lace-up and hook-and-loop designs of most these offerings allow quite a bit of wiggle room in terms of fit. So, if you’re looking at a chest protector for trainers and regularly working with a training partner of a slightly different size, there’s a good chance that you can get by with just one.